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Tsukuba, Ibaraki

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Country  Japan
Area  284.07 km2
Region  Kanto
Mayor  Kenichi Ichihara
Population  214,590 (2010)
Colleges and Universities  University of Tsukuba, National University Corporation Tsukuba University of Technology, Tsukuba Gakuin University

Tsukuba (, Tsukuba-shi) is a city located in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. It is known as the location of the Tsukuba Science City (, Tsukuba Kenkyu Gakuen Toshi), a planned science park developed in the 1960s.


Map of Tsukuba, Ibaraki

As of October 1, 2012, the city has an estimated population of 217,315, with 90,151 households and a population density of 765 persons per kmĀ². The total area is 284.07 km2 (109.68 sq mi).

Mount Tsukuba, particularly well known for its toad-shaped Shinto shrine, is located on the citys northern border. Tsukuba is a twin city of Irvine, California, Milpitas, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States of America, and Grenoble in France.


Tsukuba Science City represents one of the worlds largest coordinated attempts to accelerate the rate of and improve the quality of scientific discovery. The city was closely modeled on other planned cities and science developments, including Brasilia, Novosibirsks Akademgorodok, Bethesda, and Palo Alto. The city was founded by the merger of Oho, Sakura, Toyosato, and Yatabe.

Tsukuba, Ibaraki in the past, History of Tsukuba, Ibaraki

Beginning in the 1960s, the area was designated for development. Construction of the city centre, the University of Tsukuba and 46 public basic scientific research laboratories began in the 1970s. The city became operational in the 1980s to stimulate scientific discovery. Its constituent municipalities were administratively united in 1987.

By 2000, the citys 60 national research institutes and two universities had been grouped into five zones: higher education and training, construction research, physical science and engineering research, biological and agricultural research, and common (public) facilities. These zones were surrounded by more than 240 private research facilities. Among the most prominent institutions are the University of Tsukuba (1973; formerly Tokyo University of Education); the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK); the Electrotechnical Laboratory; the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory; and the National Institute of Materials and Chemical Research. The city has an international flair, with about 3,000 foreign students and researchers from as many as 90 countries living in Tsukuba at any one time.

Over the past several decades, nearly half of Japans public research and development budget has been spent in Tsukuba. Important scientific breakthroughs by its researchers include the identification and specification of the molecular structure of superconducting materials, the development of organic optical films that alter their electrical conductivity in response to changing light, and the creation of extreme low-pressure vacuum chambers. Tsukuba has become one of the worlds key sites for government-industry collaborations in basic research. Earthquake safety, environmental degradation, studies of roadways, fermentation science, microbiology, and plant genetics are some of the broad research topics having close public-private partnerships.

Tsukuba hosted the Expo 85 worlds fair, which is commemorated by a full-scale, working rocket in the city park. Attractions at the event included the 85-metre (279 ft) Technocosmos, which at that time was the worlds tallest Ferris wheel.

During the Fukushima I nuclear accidents in 2011, evacuees from the accident zone reported that municipal officials in Tsukuba refused to allow them access to shelters in the city unless they presented certificates from the Fukushima government declaring that the evacuees were "radiation free".

On May 6, 2012, Tsukuba was struck by a tornado that caused heavy damage to numerous structures and approximately 20,000 residents were left without electricity. The storm injured 45 people and a 14-year-old boy was killed. The tornado was rated an F-3 by the Japan Meteorological Agency, making it the most powerful tornado to ever hit Japan. Some spots had F-4 damage.


  • Science Museum of Map and Survey
  • References

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